Plot: Even in the wake of the horrific Miskatonic events, Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) is still driven to re-animate the dead and with the help of Dr. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), he is knee deep in the dead. The two are on the front lines of a civil war, which means corpses are in abundant supply and West can really cut loose, but that fun soon comes to end. The enemy forces overtake the medical camp and the doctors decide to return to Miskatonic, though with different intentions. Cain is ready to move on and use his medical skills for more practical services, but of course, West not only wants to keep the research on track, but escalate his work. After all, why re-animate the dead when you can create new life and engineer new beings, using the various body parts from dead subjects? Of course, problems of a most undead kind soon arise and once again, Miskatonic is threatened by West’s unique brand of science.
Entertainment Value: This sequel doesn’t live up to the original Re-Animator, but given that film’s cult classic status, that isn’t a knock on Bride of Re-Animator, which turns out to be a more than solid film in its own right. The movie stays close to the formula of the original, with Lovecraft inspired elements, splashy gore, and a wild sense of humor, not to mention the return of several cast members. I appreciated that the humor and absurd moments are dialed up here, but never feel cheap or forced. The balance of horror and humor is a tough blend to get right, especially when the tone is this over the top, but this movie is able to get it right. I know some feel like it gets a little too zany at times, but I think for the most part, it skirts the line quite well. Jeffrey Combs is back and is the heart of the movie, in a wild and memorable performance, as he takes Dr. West to a new level and really carries this one. Bruce Abbott also returns here, as does David Gale and both are fun here in iconic roles from the original Re-Animator. The pace is brisk and there’s little filler, so to me, Bride of Re-Animator is a fun movie that manages to deliver despite the huge shadow cast by the original.
There’s some light sleaze in this one, with a few topless scenes, including some epic moments from the bride. I mean bare breasts are always fun, but when an undead topless women is given the defibrillator treatment, that’s entertainment. So not a lot of naked flesh here, but the bride provides some solid skin. Much like the original, this one is never afraid to sling some blood around and has some wild, over top gore on full showcase here. This includes a couple nice, generous fountain-like gushes when limbs are severed, splashy gun shot wounds, machete assault, and more fun violence, as well as some interesting makeup and creature effects. The bride looks eerie and fantastic, while the oddball finger monster is hilarious. The dialogue is a lot of fun here and as expected, Dr. West has the lion’s share of memorable moments and wild lines. The man is a quote machine and delivers these sharp lines with immense skill, thanks to Combs’ great comedic presence. As for craziness, the plot is a wild one, the outlandish gore is quite a sight, and Combs’ turn as West is a total blast, so this one puts up some wackiness points, to be sure.
Overall Insanity: 6/10
The Disc: Umbrella released this as part of the Beyond Genres line, with a 2k scan that looks quite impressive. The overall image is terrific and really shines in fine detail, which puts previous DVD editions to shame. I also love how stark and well balanced contrast is, which is important here, given the film’s dark visuals. As for extras, you can choose between the original R rated edition and the uncut version, while not one, not two, but three audio commentary tracks have also been included. An assortment of cast and crew members can be found on these tracks, while more insights can be found in a handful of featurettes, some general and others focused on the film’s special effects elements. A radio adaptation of Bride of Re-Animator is also included here, as are some deleted scenes and the film’s trailer.